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It is with great sorrow that we report the sudden passing of our beloved Mom, Sister, Aunt and Grandmother. She entered eternal life on June 19, 2009. Audrey was born in Nimrod, Minn., on Jan. 31, 1935 daughter of Alvin and Marie Benson. She resided in Wadena until she moved to Pinole, Calif. in 1983. An entrepreneurial spirit, she opened her second ladies clothing store, The Hut. In 1987, she obtained her Real Estate License and worked as a Realtor for Security Pacific until 1999.
Evelyn Marie Dalen, 85, passed away Thursday, June 18, 2009. She was born April 10, 1924, to George and Anna Boylan, in Wadena. During World War II, she married Sherman Dalen, and worked as a telephone operator for Northwestern Bell while he was away serving in the Army. Following the war, they made their home on a dairy farm south of Verndale, where they raised their seven children.
Sandra Lee (Ollikain) O'Donnell, 43, passed away peacefully while sleeping on June 17, 2009, after battling cancer. She was born Feb. 22, 1966, in Glendive, Mont., to Maurice and Marcella (Ruikka) Ollikain. She graduated from the Choteau High School in Choteau, Mont., with the class of 1984. On Sept. 4, 1993, she married Robert Gregory O'Donnell. Their marriage was blessed with a son, Chad. They made their home in New Jersey and New York for four years and moved back to Billings, Mont., living there for five years before finally settling in Blaine, Minn.
Duane Harry Menk, 78, of East Peoria, Ill., and Harlingen, Texas, passed away Monday, June 8, 2009, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, ER. He was born March 7,1931, in Bertha, to Harry D. and Ella Voeltz Menk. He married Jane Janovetz Heer on Sept. 26, 1986, in Peoria, Ill. He was an electronics technician for the National Weather Service, retiring in 1993. He was a Korean War Air Force veteran. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, American Legion and NARFE. He enjoyed fishing, reading, cooking, gardening and fixing everything around the house.
Loren Alvin Thalmann, 75, of Henning, died Wednesday, June 17, 2009, at the Henning Golden Living Center. He was born in Ottertail on March 24, 1934, the son of Herman and Eleonora (Grefe) Thalmann. He grew up at Ottertail and was baptized and confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church at Ottertail. He attended St. John's Parochial school through the eighth grade and graduated from Henning High School with the class of 1953. He served in the Army from 1956 until 1958. He then worked for Oliver Mining Company in Eveleth, Minn., and also raised turkeys for Henning Hatchery.
Lila Kujala, 94, of New York Mills, passed away June 21, 2009, at the Elders' Home in New York Mills. She was born April 7, 1915, in Sebeka, to John and Anna Blom. She graduated from Sebeka High School with the class of 1934. She was employed by various stores as a clerk. She was also a telephone operator for many years. She married Jacob "Jack" Kujala on Aug. 21, 1943 in Deer Creek. They resided on the Iron Range for several years. Jack was employed in the mines. They moved to New York Mills. Jack passed away on June 2, 1988. In 2005, she moved into town in New York Mills.
Winfred "Ole" Warren Johnson, 91, passed away June 18, 2009, in the Lakewood Care Center in Staples. He was born Oct. 31, 1917, to George and Lettie (Rasmussen) Johnson in Henning. He married Dorothy Mildred Borchers on Feb. 6, 1942, in South Dakota. He worked as a manager at the Astro Aluminum Heat Treating Plant. He spent 37 years in Deer Creek and 35 years in California, before retiring and moving to the Deer Creek and Wadena area for his last 20 years.
Harriet Wilma Pokorney, 89, passed away June 11, 2009, at Tri-County Hospital in Wadena. She was born April 17, 1920, to Erwin and Edna (Erdmann) Ehlke of Oak Valley Township. She graduated from high school and attended St. Cloud Teachers College. She married Charles George Pokorney on June 25, 1944, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Bertha and together they operated the family farm near Wrightstown. In addition to caring and providing a home for her own family, she served her community as a teacher, daycare provider and foster grandparent. Most knew her simply as Grandma Harriet.
Violet V. (Niemela) Bentilla, 89, of New York Mills, passed away June 9, 2009, at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo. She was born Nov. 6, 1919, in New York Mills, to Charles and Esther (Carlund) Niemela. She married Ralph Raymond Bentilla in 1940 in Verndale. Their marriage was blessed with six children. From 1941 to 1947, they resided in Valparaiso, Ind., and Aurora, Ill., where Ralph worked for The McGill Company. They moved to Minneapolis, where Ralph was employed with Utilities Services Company. She was employed with Leef Brothers in Minneapolis.
Jerry Basel Bentley, 82, of New York Mills, passed away June 8, 2009, at the Elders' Home in New York Mills. He was born June 4, 1927, to Norman and Tegla (Tapio) Bentley, at his grandparents' homestead, which is now Finn Creek Museum, rural New York Mills. As he was growing up, he spent quality time with Abner and Hilda Fiskari. When he was 16 years old he began sailing on the Great Lakes. He was employed on the iron ore boats for a total of 35 years. He served in the Army from Aug. 29, 1945, to Dec. 6, 1946, in Alaska and was honorably discharged.